The Five Hundred Year Archive seeks to stimulate engagement with the neglected eras of the southern African past before the advent of European colonialism. Enquiry and research in this area is hampered by the absence of accessible archival material. Researchers can make use of materials found in museums and a variety of other places that are not regarded as "archives", but the material in these other places is often misidentified, undated, and misplaced. Much is fragmented and dispersed across the world. Some of it, like archaeological material, is difficult for non-archaeologists to gain access to. These are the kinds of challenges that the FHYA project addresses. It aims to develop and promote understandings of the archival possibilities of materials located both within and outside of institutions and to facilitate their engagement. The FHYA locates these materials, places them in the kind of archival framework that readies them for use in thinking about the remote past, augments the archival framework and then makes them accessible online.
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